Real and false reason Q&A

Recently in the Ning IPS thread on the topic Ambo had some questions and musings here and following posts. DavidM joined the discussion a few comments down. My responses to both follow.

Ambo: To answer briefly here, false reason is not a binary to real reason. Think of it in terms of kennilngus. E.g., each stage goes through fusion, differentiation and integration. So the formal rational stage, which differentiates from the mythical stage (concrete conventional), can go into dissociation instead of integration. I agree with Wilber on this. Formal reasoning, when integrated per this thread, is real reason which can then move into postformal reasoning. This thread explores what that integration means, which is where I depart from Wilber and the model of hierarchical complexity crowd.

As to Big Mind, and general Buddhist methodology, of not indentifying with self, that too can end in a disembodied, metaphysical premise. The Batchelor thread shows two very different approaches to the topic within Buddhism, rangtong and shentong. It is roughly analogous to real and false reason. Evan Thompson’s work in this and this thread gives a strong rangtong Buddhist version using modern neuroscience and embodied realism.


David: I’m not sure I’m understanding your quotes. If it implies that we must always grow bigger or more complex to make progress then I don’t agree. Or that we must shoot for “ideas of largest generality,” that also seems to miss the point. The largest generality and its opposite, the smallest particular, are both part of the false reasoning based on an abstract, formal logic and its hierarchical category theories. In the above, basic categories shaped by image schema are seen in the middle of such hierarchies. Real reason then extends ‘down’ to the particulars and ‘up’ to the generalities ad infinitum. There are no lowest and highest linear points, as both ‘ends’ loop around back to, and originate from, the middle of things. If that’s what the quote means by “mystery and the mystery of its meaning,” or “Charles Hartshorne’s necessarily existing God,” then I’d agree. But I’m not sure it is.

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About theurj

Also known as theurj. I've contributed some essays to Integral World and co-founded Open Integral blog, now defunct. I continue to participate in Integral Postmetaphysical Spirituality forum.
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